The Byzantine castle at Pigeon Island, a small peninsula that juts out into the Aegean Sea, is the town’s most popular tourist attraction. The island was used for military purposes during the Ottoman Era and before that, thanks to its strategic location.
There are also many beaches to choose from, with Kadinlar Denizi (Ladies Beach) to the south of the town being the most popular. Other great beaches can be found at Cape Yilanci and in the Dilek National Park which is around 30km from town but well worth the journey.
The area is also sprinkled with thermal springs such as those found at Davutlar, just 15km south of Kusadasi. If you’re willing to travel a little further, the travertines of Pamukkale are worth a look. These white calcite shelves set along the mountainside brim with thermal waters that are rich in minerals. Above them, visitors can discover the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine spa city of Hierapolis.
Of course, any trip to Kusadasi should include a visit to Ephesus, Europe’s most complete classical town, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the Greco-Roman world and is home to the Temple of Artemis.
Places to Visit in Kusadasi
- The ancient city of Ephesus
- Pigeon Island
- Dilek National Park
Unique Things to See and Do in Kusadasi
- Climb to the top of Ataturk Hill for views across the town
- Soak up some sun at the crowd-free beaches in the national park
- Step back in time at the ancient city of Ephesus
- Take a dip in Pamukkale’s Cleopatra’s Pool – a thermal spring among spectacular terraces of carbonate minerals.
- Visit the Saturday market at nearby Selcuk
Ephesus – a Wonder of the Ancient World
The city of Ephesus was the capital of Roman Asia Minor with more than 250,000 inhabitants. Back then, it was a port town visited by traders and sailors as well as pilgrims to the Temple of Artemis – the largest temple to the goddess in the world and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The scale of the temple itself was a sign of the massive wealth and importance held by Ephesus.
Now, the city’s ruins are a magnificent remnant of the Greco-Roman world with it considered Europe’s most complete classical town.
The excavation of this site has so far taken around 150 years, with work ongoing as the majority of the metropolis is yet to be uncovered.
Getting Around Kusadasi
The most common way to get around Kusadasi is by using minibuses called dolmus, which literally means “stuffed”. These run from 7:30 am to midnight during the high season months of May to October.
Otherwise, you can jump in a taxi with most destinations within town no more than five minutes away and Ephesus around 30 minutes.
And then there’s always your feet. It takes just 30 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Kusadasi
The best time to visit Kusadasi really depends on why you are there. If it is simply to lounge on a beach, then the best time to go is between May and October when the temperatures are at their highest.
Did you know…?
Kusadasi’s name comes from the words ‘kuş’ (bird) and ‘ada’ (island) as the peninsula has the shape of a bird’s head - as seen from the sea.
Did you ALSO know…?
Kusadası’s residential population of around 65,000 swells to more than half a million during the summer when the resort town fills with tourists.
But if discovering the rich history of the area ranks higher on your agenda, then the shoulder seasons of April to May and September to October are your best bet. At these times of year, fewer crowds and lower but not too low temperatures are the perfect conditions for exploring the classical ruins and the Byzantine castles.
Ready to plan your visit to Kusadasi? Check out these popular guides and trips.